self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico
and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National
Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale
code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates
locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area,
and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals,
such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and
ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport
fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing,
backpacking, mountain climbing.
Nalle & Eberle Zinfandel - October 11, 2000
Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (13.5%; "4 Out
of 5 Fruit Flies Surveyed Prefer Nalle Zinfandel");
1998: Med.color; bright spicy/Zinberry/raspberry light pencilly/oak
nose; tart bright clean lush spicy/Zinberry/raspberry
light pencilly/oak quite zippy flavor; med. long slight
bitter tart/bright/vibrant spicy/raspberry/Zinberry lush/fruity
finish w/ light tannins; a classic Nalle Zinfandel
in a light/Pinot-like style.
Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (13.5%; "Zintensive
Care"); 1997: Med.dark color; much deeper blackberry/Zinberry
more pungent/toasty/oak bit dusty/old vines very fragrant
nose; soft lush very spicy/blackberry/Zinberry/black cherry
soda light toasty/oak flavor; soft/lush very long
very spicy/blackberry/black cherry/Zinberry dusty/old
vines light pungent/oak finish w/ light tannins; beautiful
balanced/elegant lush Zinfandel; quintessential Nalle
Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (13.5%; "Zinfandel
By A Nose"); 1996: Med.dark color; rather purfumy/perfumed
talc very complex light Zinberry light pencilly/Fr.oak nose
w/ slight brett; tart light licorice smooth/spicy
light Zinberry light pencilly/oaked; med.long tart
smooth spicy/Zinberry/licorice/cherry soda elegant/complex
light pencilly/oak finish w/ light tannins; beautiful/complex/elegant/perfumed
Zinfandel near its peak.
Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (13.5%; "Sensous
Red Zinfandel"); 1995: Med.color; lovely/ complex/perfumed/spicy
bit more pungent/toasty/oak strong blackberry/Zinberry/spicy/
perfumed talc elegant/complex nose; softer more pungent
some toasty/oak blackberry/ Zinberry smooth/elegant
flavor; very long bit pungent/toasty/oak blackberry/Zinberry
smooth/complex/elegant finish w/ light tannins; a beautiful/complex/elegant/mature
classic Nalle Zinfandel.
Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (13.5%; "Everything
I Learned About Zinfandel I Learned In Zindergarten");
1994: Med.color; ; slight funky/bretty ratherr fragrant/perfumed
very spicy/complex/aromatic bit blackberry/Zinberry
nose; soft bit funky/bretty very smooth/ polished/elegant/complex
cherry/Zinberry/spicy flavor; med.long smooth/elegant/polished
light cherry/Zinberry bit bretty finish w/ light tannins;
a bit funky but still a lovely/ elegant Zinfandel
probably slightlt beyond its peak.
Sonoma County Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (13.6%; "Zinners
Repent-Let He Who Is Without Zinfandel Pull The First
Cork"); 1988: Med.dark color; rather pungent/toasty/oaked
bit funky/tobaccoy complex slightly tired/dried out/rose
petal bit smokey/complex nose; soft/smooth bit dried
out/tobaccoy/candied complex slight smokey/oaked flavor;
long/complex bit dried out/tobaccoy some toasty/smokey/oaked
finish w/ some drying tannins; still a smooth &
complex Zinfandel but not a lot of fruit and drying out
Calif Mazzoni Home Ranch (71% Zinfandel, 21% Carignane,
8% PS; 13.5%; 36 brls); 1998: Med. dark color;
rathe milky/Am.oaked spicy/blackberry Ridge/perfume slight
bretty bit earthy/ dusty nose; soft/smooth milky/Am.oaked
very buttery/buttered popcorn spicy/blackberry flavor;
long bit bretty dusty/old vine buttered popcorn blackberry
rather milky/Am.oak bit dusty finish w/ light tannins;
nice drinking Zinfandel but just that.
Cellars Paso Robles Zinfandel Richard Sauret Vnyd (13.8%);
1993: Med.dark slight browning color; strong blackberry/PR
jammy very spicy loely/complex nose; soft very ripe/PR
jammy bit raisened blackberry flavor; med.long bit overripe/raisened
strong blackberry/ PR jammy finish w/ light tannins;
tasting a bit overripe now but lots of jammy/PR fruit;
still in great shape.
Paso Robles Zinfandel Richard Sauret Vnyd (14.7%); 1997:
Med.color; very slightly corked/musty rather blackberry/boysenberry/jammy
some oaked slight volatile nose; soft big lush boysenberry/blackberry
ripe some pungent/toasty/oak flavor; long soft lush
blackberry/boysenberry/jammy some pungent/toasty/oak finish
w/ light tannins; a really tasty PR Zinfandel and
seems to have put on some weight over the last year; great
Sauret Ho-Made Zinfandel (SauretVnyd 2'nd crop); 1997: Dark
color; very ripe to overripe blackberry/jammy/boysenberry/grapey
slight volatile bit stemmy/herbal rather interesting
nose; soft underacid lush blackberry/boysenberry/jammy/grapey
very bit alcoholic slight herbal flavor; long very
ripe/overripe boysenberry/blackberry finish w/ light
tannins; an interesting very grapey kind of Zinfandel.
Paso Robles Zinfandel Sauret Vnyd (15.5%) '97: Med.color;
very spicy/cinammon/cloves ripe blackberry/boysenberry/chocolaty
very fragrant/perfumed nose; rich blackberry/ boysenbery/chocolaty
very spicy bit cinammon/cloves/oaked flavor; very long chocolaty/
blackberry/boysenberry light spicy/oaked finish w/ some
tannins; still needs a yr or two; a lovely/spicy Zinfandel
that carries the alcohol well.
Paso Robles Zinfandel Sauret Vnyd (16.5%) '96: Med.dark
color; strong pungent/smokey/ oaked complex boysenberry/blackberry
nose; rich very spicy blackberry/boysenberry some
toasty/pungent/oak flavor; very long complex pungent/toasty/oak
very spicy/blackberry/ boysenberry finish w/ some
tannins; loads of spicy fruit; carries the alcohol well
and no raisened/overripe charcter, for now.
Paso Robles Zinfandel Sauret Vnyd (14.6%) '95: Dark
color; rather pungent bit reduced smokey/toasty/oak
slight bretty chocolaty/complex bit herbal nose; soft intense
chocolaty ripe/blackberry/boysenberry some pungent/toasty/oak
flavor; very long pungent/ toasty/smokey/oak chocolaty/boysenberry
slight bretty finish w/ some tannins; dropping a bit
of fruit but a very interesting/pungent Zinfandel that will
improve maybe for another year.
Paso Robles Zinfandel Sauret Vnyd (13.8%) '94: Med.dark
color; slight musty/earthy/ funky/dishwater/pungent/gunpowder
nose clears to pungent/smokey/oak complex bright raspberry/blackberry
nose; soft/rich/lush chocolaty/blackberry some pungent/toasty/
oaked lovely/complex flavor; very long/complex pungent/toasty/smokey/oaked
blackberry/ spicy/chocolaty bit dried-out/tannic flavor;
very interesting complex Zinfandel but probably a
bit on the downside.
the standard bloody pulpit:
Nalle Zins: I've followed Doug Nalle's Zins from the very
start. They are.... simply the best. They are the
direct antithesis of Turley Zins. They don't win big Zinfandel
tastings. They don't get over-the-top reviews. They
are like a fine piece of woodworking; you can tell
by one look at it that a master craftsman has created it.
They are all about elegance & polish & complexity.
I oft describe them a the Red Burgs of the Zinfandel world.
When ever I want a nice drinking bottle of wine to go with
my meal, just to enjoy, it's a Nalle Zinfandel I most
often grab for. Normally I'll open a btl for dinner, have
half of it, and recork it to finish up the next night.
More times than I'd care to tell, I've noticed at
the end of the meal I've drunk the whole friggin' bottle!!!
That's exactly the kind of Zinfandel Doug intends to make
(well.... probably NOT drink a whole btl by yourself
at one sitting!!); a wine that HE likes to drink, and, hopefully,
others like to drink just as much. Doug makes the Zins to
be great drinking from the git-go and sees no need for
anyone to age them. Yet they do last quite well (if'n you
can avoid drinking them up) and even improve some
with a few yrs of age. These '98-'94 were all beautiful
drinking and showing no signs of going over the hill.
Only the '88 (a weak vintage) was showing a bit of
wear & tear for its age; yet it, too, was an absolute
pleasure to drink. Doug has been amazingly consistent
with his winemaking over the yrs. They DO vary in
character from yr to yr, reflecting the vintage, yet that
distinct polish of the Nalle style always seems to
come thru. In a weak Zinfandel vintage like '98, the Nalle
winemaking style seemed to shine, whereas the Turley
winemaking style just didn't quite work for that vintage.
Doug was here to NM for a tasting/visit some 8-9 yrs ago.
He stayed at my home and absolutely charmed the sox
of my daughter Rebecca. She now thinks Nalle Zinfandel is
absolutely the best wine in the world and I usually
give her a btl or two for her BD in June. Because
I got the '98 Zinfandel late this year, she didn't get her
usual BD fare this year. So I took her one of the
'98's when I went back to KC two weekends ago. She was mightly
peeved with me when she found out I cracked that sucker
open at my 40'th high school reunion there w/ some
fellow wine lovers; thus salvaging a pretty grim weekend,
winewise, there in KansasCity!!
Richard Sauret: I've followed Richard Sauret's Zins from
the very start, back in the late '70's when he had
his own Belli-Sauret label. Well, actually, I don't remember
anything about those wines, but I've followed all those
that Gary Eberle and Kent Rosenblum have made from
those grapes. Richard Sauret is "just" a PasoRobles
farmer. But boy does he know how to farm grapes there.
One of the nicest men you'd ever want to meet. When I toured
his Zinfandel vnyds with him several yrs ago; you
could tell there was somebody farming these grapes that
cared about quality. The vnyds of old head-pruned vines
were absolutely impeccably maintained. As we walked
thru the vnyd, he couldn't resist pulling suckers here and
there and breaking off canes that were out of place.
There are actually two Sauret vnyds. Both are located at
a lower elevation on the PasoRobles WestSide, a bit
west of Caparone Wnry. The lower vnyd, owned by the Belli
family, but farmed by Richard are the grapes that go to
Kent Rosenblum. About a mile away, at a somewhat higher
elevation, is the Zinfandel vnyd surrounding his home, which
sits atop this high hill w/ a great view in all directions.
These are the grapes that go to Gary Eberle for his
SauretVnyd Zinfandel. He has also planted some Barbera there
for Gary so ther'll be a SauretVnyd Barbera about
the '00 vintage. After the Zinfandel has been harvested
for Gary & Kent, Richard then goes the the two vnyds
and harvests all the second crop grapes for his wine. It's
not actually a Ho-Made wine, since Richard does not
make it. He takes it over to Neild Udson at CastoroCllrs,
where it is fermented & bttld for Richard for
his own consumption. Not commercially available. Zins
made from second crop can sometimes have a weird character
to them. This one had a lot of ripeness to it but
a very strong grapiness that suggests it was bttld early
and so no oak aging. But Ho-Made, it was not like that at
Eberle Zins: I've followed Gary Eberle's Zins from the very
start, back in his days at EstrellaRiver Vnyds. Those
were very elegant/polished rather oaked Zins that I liked
a lot and they were cheap. Gary resumed making Zinfandel,
now under his Eberle label, now from Richard Sauret's
grapes with the dreadful (mostly up North, though) '89 vintage.
The wine was, in its time, one of the best Paso Zins
I'd ever had. He has continued a pretty much unbroken
string of primo Zins since that '89 vintage; some of my
absolute favorites of the Paso Zins. They tend to
be unlike most Paso Zins in that they have more oak
& complexity and less of that ripe/overripe jammy character.
Though the alcohol levels are often high, they seem
to carry the alcohol very well. But when they start
to go, they seem to go pretty fast.
© 1996 - 2006, Tom Hill - All rights reserved
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